Brakes are a common concern for drivers all year, but these concerns are usually heightened when the temperature starts dropping and winter rolls in.

“Does the cold hurt my brakes?” This is a question we receive from customers all the time.

It’s a fair question. Whether you are driving the family car or commanding a fleet of service vehicles, it’s important to keep your brakes in tip-top shape. Also, we all know the cold weather can wreak havoc on other parts of your automobile, like your battery and engine. Do your brakes fall into that category?

The answer may surprise you: no, cold weather does not directly affect your brakes.

Freezing temperatures alone will not cause harm to your brakes. However, it can be a contributing factor. Other cold-weather related factors cold can and will cause take a toll on your brakes all winter long.

Here’s what you need to be mindful of.

Brake wear and tear increases during winter

Snow and ice on the roads can make winter driving tricky, with all the slipping and sliding. To compensate for all the slipping and sliding, your typical driver is more than likely going to be pumping their brakes often.

However, when vehicles slide, brakes have to work extra hard, causing additional heat and friction that can accelerate the wear and shorten the lifespan of brake pads. Depending on how often you brake and how aggressive of a driver you are, brakes can wear out quickly and the excess heat can even cause cracks to form.

While you’re driving during the winter, keep your ears peeled for any squealing, grinding or whirring noises. If you do, it could be a sign of worn out brake pads. Take your vehicle for an inspection.

Salt can corrode brakes

Road salt is used liberally during the winter to keep the roads clear. Road salt lowers the freezing point of water, which is useful for melting ice on the roads, so tires can touch the road for better traction.

However, salt can pose a threat to vehicles. As you drive on freshly salted roads, it can kick up and around your vehicle. Salt can accelerate vehicle rusting, especially the exposed undercarriage and area around its tires.

This can cause a grocery list of vehicle troubles including corroding brakes and causing them to wear out faster. This makes it necessary to keep your vehicle clean in order to maintain their integrity. Every couple weeks, make sure to run your vehicle through a car wash that has under-spray.

The moral of the story? Although the cold alone will not harm your brakes, they will receive a fair amount of wear and tear by the time spring comes around.

So, make sure you have your breaks and rotors inspected before winter, after winter and at least once during winter to make sure your breaks won’t cause you any grief.

Raben Tires services family and fleet vehicles alike and has locations across the Midwest. Schedule your service and inspection today!